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35th Anniversary BVI Spring Regatta

Innovative, new and renewed are apt adjectives that describe some of the winning boats at this year’s 35th annual BVI Spring Regatta, sailed March 31 to April 2. Likewise, crews represented everything from weekend student sailors to wannabe Olympians. Combine this with record participation – 152 yachts in 16 classes ranging from big boats to Lasers – and all the ingredients were there for a fantastic sailing experience.

Fancy Sail Work on Rosebud. Puerto Rico’s Tom Hill, Sr., driving his Reichel-Pugh 75, Titan XII, is used to placing at the top of Spinnaker Racing A or the big boat class. He did it last year. He even did it before when he soundly handed Roy Disney, at the helm of Pyewacket, a second place finish at the 2004 BVI Spring Regatta. So, it came as a surprise when Tom ended up third this year, behind the USA’s Roger Sturgeon, steering his sleek Transpac 52, Rosebud, who won the class, and the USA’s Daniel Meyers’ Custom 60, Numbers, in second.

What was Rosebud’s secret to success? A sail for every weather condition. Crewmember Malcolm Park explains Rosebud’s success: “This boat is known for carrying a lot of sails for different wind conditions. For example, in one race the second day, we were between Ginger Island and Deadman’s Chest and we peeled through three spinnakers in 5 to 6 minutes each, whereas Titan had up a jib the whole time.”

Crash Test Dummies – A First-Ever Design in the Caribbean. Trinidad’s Tim Kimpton made Caribbean sailing history by bringing the first Melges 32 to the region, a feat he handily let fellow competitors in Racing B know about by breezing by them to a first in class. Former owner of the Henderson 35, Crash Test Dummies, Kimpton, who changed boats but not boat names, said, “The hull and rudder are built by Soca Sails in Trinidad. Paul (Amon, owner of Soca Sails) is my good mate. I got to ride on the prototype, which was launched in December of 2004. That’s how I got introduced to the boat. It’s a new class and we first sailed it at Key West Race Week. We ended up placing third in class. Then, we just took delivery of it a week ago in St. Thomas and this is our first Caribbean regatta. Like the Henderson 35, it’s turbo-charged. In light winds it sails really well. In heavy winds, it’s a rocket ship.”

The Melges 24 caught on in the Caribbean, perhaps the 32 will too. The 32 resembles the 24 in that it has swept spreaders with a fixed backstay, 105% headsails and masthead asymmetrical spinnakers. Other key elements include a CRO retractable outboard system behind the keel and a VARA rudder system that incorporates a retractable rudder blade that was specifically crafted, developed and refined by Soca Sail’s Paul Amon. Amon is one of Kimpton’s regular crew, another of Crash Test Dummies secrets to success in this regatta.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – From Weeds to Winner’s Circle. A year ago, a Kirby 25 was sitting on the hard in the weeds on St. Thomas’ east end. Johnny Foster and Bill McConnell took the rig, put a lot of elbow grease, money and love into it and got her sailing. The result, the Kirby not only won its class in the Spring Regatta, it won its class in the three-regatta Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle Series. John Foster, Johnny’s dad and the helmsman, explains. “We were really ugly at first, ugly with whiskers. Then we moved up to bad in Culebra and finally to good in the BVI. We were tuning and figuring out how to sail the boat the entire time.”

Sailability – Sailing with Kids. BVI Watersports Centre instructor, Alison Knight-Bramble took on kids as crew aboard the Tremelino 23 multihull, I-Tri, while racing in the Multihull class of the Spring Regatta. The kids sailed beautifully, even though each one of them had a physical or mental disability. “Rotary purchased the boat for us to teach special needs kids,” Knight-Bramble said. “We have about 20 students in the Sailability program. One who is wheelchair bound is able to roll his chair aboard the trimaran. There is another who is profoundly deaf and dumb. He and I can communicate just fine through eye contact. I think sailing gives him the opportunity to feel things he can’t on land. It expands his horizons in spite of his limitations.”

I-Tri placed fifth out of seven in the class, but Knight-Bramble said to watch out for them next year. “We only really sailed jib and main. Next year we hope to have new racing sails.”

Cat on Fire. Puerto Rico’s Francisco Figueroa has been burning up the waterways this season. The 20-year-old sailed right behind four-time Olympic and National Champ, and fellow islander, Enrique Figueroa, at the Heineken Culebra International Regatta and International Rolex Regatta, and came to the front of the class at the BVI Spring Regatta. “I’ve been sailing since I was four, racing Hobie’s by the age of 10, and got into international competition at the age of 14 by competing in the Hobie 16 Worlds,” Figueroa said. “My ultimate goal is to sail in the 2012 Olympics and win a medal.”


1. Rosebud, Transpac 52, Roger Sturgeon, USA (13)
2. Numbers, Custom 60, Daniel Meyers, USA (18)
3. Titan XII, Reichel-Pugh 75, Tom Hill, Sr., Puerto Rico (20)

1. Crash Test Dummies, Melges 32, Tim Kimpton, Trinidad (12)
2. Chippewa, Farr 39.5, Dave West, USA (23)
3. DSK Comifin, Swan 45, Danilo Salsi, Italy (30)

1. Lost Horizon II, Olson 30, James Dobbs, Antigua (11)
2. Carib.Nautifit, Melges 24, Frits Bus, St. Maarten (15)
3. Kosa Loka, Olson 30, Kike Gonzalez, Puerto Rico (29)

1. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Kirby 25, Johnny Foster & Bill McConnell, St. Thomas, USVI (20.5)
2. Broken Drum, Tartan 10, Morgan Dale, St. Croix, USVI (30)
3. J/Walker, J/27, Chris Thompson, St. Thomas, USVI (30.5)

1. Pipedream, Sirena 38, Peter Haycraft, BVI (16)
2. Kick ‘em Jenny, Beneteau 36S7, Ian Ross, Trinidad (19)
3. Boomerang, J/33, Pat Nolan, BVI (32)

1. Stay Calm, Swan 70, Stuart Robinson, USA (6)
2. Jeraboam, Swan 45, Vittorio Codecasa, Italy (7)
3. Affinity, Swan 48, Jack Desmond, USA (14)

1. Wildflower, Sabre 402, Ron Noonan, USA (6)
2. Odin II, X-412, Kristian Torkildsen, Norway (7)
3. Three Harkoms, Beneteau 44, Christopher Lloyd, BVI (14)

1. Clover III, Swan 56, Neal Finnegan, USA (5)
2. Mensae, Swan 56, Sterling Kristiansen, Holland (11.5)
3. Acadia, Frers 48 Cat Ketch, USA (17)

1. Rob Swain Sailing School, Beneteau 52, BVI Yacht Charters, BVI (7)
2. Team 020, Dufour 50, Kluft, Holland (7)
3. Team UK, Beneteau 473, UK (12)

1. Chess, Beneteau 445, Jan Soderberg, UK (5)
2. Sotheby’s International Real Estate, Beneteau 463 (7)
3. Andrea Betty Lee, Moorings 44.3, Dunbar, BVI (18)

1. Manta, Gold Coast 34, Michael Hirst, BVI (7)
2. Piglet, TeeGull 23, Joe San Martin, St. Croix, USVI (8)
3. Triple Jack, Kelsall, BVI (10)

1. Brand New Secondhand, Chris Curreri, St. Thomas, USVI (55)
2. Sea Hawk, Robbie Hirst, BVI (56)
3. Orion, Fraito Lugo, Puerto Rico (62)

1. Thomas Barrows, St. Thomas, USVI (15)
2. Hugo Roller, St. John, USVI (27)
3. Daniel Alsop, BVI (38)

1. Sydney Jones, St. Croix, USVI (32)
2. Mayumi Roller, St. John, USVI (33)
3. Emma Paull, BVI (34)

1. Alec Anderson, BVI (16)
2. Morgan Bryan, St. Croix, USVI (21)

1. Heineken, Hobie 16, Francisco Figueroa, Puerto Rico (21)
2. Caribbean Auto Mart, Prindle 19, Tom Ainger, St. Croix, USVI (27)
3. Wave Magnet, Nacra 5.8, Doug DeRue, St. Croix, USVI (30)

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